LAURINBURG, N.C.—Senior Bradley Hippolyte (Brooklyn, N.Y.) registered his first collegiate double-double with a team-high 19 points and a career-high 11 rebounds to propel host St. Andrews Presbyterian College to a 69-59 Conference Carolinas men’s basketball victory over visiting Coker College on Thursday night in Harris Court.
Sophomore Ron Deas (Clayton, N.C.) also scored a career-high 16 points as the Knights -- winners of three straight -- improved to 5-12 overall and 4-6 in the league. Sophomore Mason Ambler (Atlanta, Ga.) scored a game-high 20 points for the visitors but the Cobras dropped their sixth straight game falling to 5-12 and 3-7.
“It was nice to get three straight wins like this,” said St. Andrews third year head coach Billy Lee. “We have been playing better since Christmas and playing better together and on defense so it is nice to see the hard work manifest into these three wins.”
A sophomore J.C. Hafner (Jefferson, Md.) three-pointer midway through the first half gave Coker a 19-9 advantage but St. Andrews would outscore the Cobras 18-7 in the final 10-plus minutes. A freshman Zack Garst (Huntersville, N.C.) made free throw broke a tie in the final minute of the first half to give the Knights a slim 27-26 lead at halftime.
Coker jumped out to their double digit lead by hitting five of their first six 3-pointers but missed their final four attempts in the opening 20 minutes. St. Andrews sophomore Colby Poe (Bennettsville, S.C.) led all scorers into the locker room, bucketing eight of his 11 points in the first half.
The Knights pulled out to an 11-point lead in the first five minutes of the second half on a 13-3 run. A senior Benny Zacharias (Raeford, N.C.) three-pointer capped the surge that gave SAPC a 40-29 advantage. Coker would pull with nine-point five different times over the next 14 minutes but the Knights primarily kept a double-digit lead heading into the final minute.
St. Andrews continued to lead 64-54 with 59 seconds on the clock but a quick pair of hoops edged Coker to within seven with 38 ticks remaining but the Knights converted on four straight free throws late coast home to the 10-point victory.
SAPC held a slim 33-31 edge on the boards but committed less turnovers, 17-13, while making more steals, 12-7. The Cobras made 43.8-percent of their shots while the Knights were just behind at 43.1%.
Hippolyte scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half including all of his free throws. Hippolyte went to the charity stripe 15 times in the final 20 minutes and made 12. Coach Lee added, “Bradley is getting better and better and he plays bigger than his size. He is deserving of his accomplishments as he is focused and he continued to work through frustrating times.”
Deas scored his 16 points on 7-of-10 accuracy from the floor while also grabbing six rebounds. “Ron (Deas) was tremendous tonight bringing a lot of effort while also been very productive offensively,” commented Lee.
Juniors Joseph Gripper (Charlotte, N.C.) and Charles Phillips (Decatur, Ga.) followed with eight and seven points, respectively. Phillips and Hippolyte each dished out five assists as SAPC had 19 helpers for the second straight game. Gripper also had a game-high five steals.
“Defense keyed everything we did. We came out in the second half and made stops that we were able to turn into buckets. We also did a really good job passing the ball. Joe (Gripper) used his dribble to get the ball to open people by penetrating and kicking it out,” described Lee.
“I am happy for this team as they are smart and work together,” concluded Lee.
Ambler registered his second straight double-double by grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds to go along with his 20 points. A quartet of Cobras just missed reaching double-digits including nine points by senior Boycho Branzov (Bulgaria) and sophomore Michael Gore (Landis, N.C.). Hafner and freshman Vatrick Thompson (West Columbia, S.C.) followed with eight apiece.
St. Andrews next hosts Conference Carolinas rival Pfeiffer University Saturday at 2:00 p.m. while Limestone hosts league foe Lees-McRae College at the same time.